« All Episodes

Poison Series: #02 - Indecision

Published 8/19/2016

In today's episode, we talk about the importance of overcoming indecision.

Today's episode is sponsored by Zendesk! With Zendesk, you can get feedback from your customers without making them leave your application, leading to faster resolution times and happier users! Check it out at Zendesk.com/developertea today!

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey, we want to welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. In today's episode, we're going to continue our discussion on the Poison series. Today's episode is about indecision. Today's episode is sponsored by Zendesk. We will talk about what Zendesk has to offer to Developer Tealisteners later on in today's episode. You know, this week we will hit 275 episodes of Developer Tea. The show has been going for a little over a year and a half now. And we are coming up on this 275 episode landmark. That's really a ton of content. And I'm not saying that to pat myself on the back, but rather to kind of give you an excuse to not listen to it all. There's a ton of content on the show. I want to go back to something I said in one of the first few episodes of Developer Tea for a second here. Just because I think it's really important for you to understand this. The mission of this show is to provide you the listener, whether you're a developer or not, with the mindset and inspiration you need to become successful throughout your career. Now, a lot of this information is for the developer, the software developer. A lot of it ends up being for web developers, quite honestly, because I am a web developer and I lead web developers every single day. But the mission of the show is to provide you with inspiration and the mindset that you need to be a successful developer. Now, I want to clarify something. The mission of the show is not for you to love every episode. We have thousands of developers and non-developers for that matter who are listening today, or they're going to listen sometime this week. And every single one has a different story, a different background. Everyone is at a different stage in their career. Maybe they haven't even started a professional career yet. So one of the things we decided to do early on, in fact, from the very beginning of the show, in fact, one of the most important aspects of this show, is to create a ton of short episodes, three, and at sometimes during the show's history, we did four per week. That's the whole format of the show. Some are longer than others, but all in all, it's a short show. The reason for this positioning is two-fold. Number one, the show is so short that you don't have to spend a ton of time to get some kind of value. There are a lot of great podcasts out there. Some of them are very long. And I found myself not having time for all of them. I have a very short commute. And honestly, I probably don't spend as much time in the gym as I should. So my normal podcast listening windows are shorter than the average person potentially. So I created Developer Teato solve some of those problems. Developer Tea is usually short enough that you can fit it into a short commute or part of your workout at the gym and still listen to another show. The second reason is quite simply so that the episodes that aren't necessarily relevant to you, which there are going to be some of those, some of those that aren't relevant to you, you can just skip. Sometimes we cover things on the show that for one person is perhaps quite obvious, right? The concept that your application should be fast that may be obvious to you. Perhaps you are a productivity genius. And so the episodes that are about productivity, they may not help you. Perhaps they will still help you. And sometimes we cover soft skills that are only relevant to certain groups of people. And other times we cover a bit deeper technical discussions. Whatever the case is, if you don't like a particular episode, there will be a new one within two or three days that you can listen to instead. So here's the thing. I don't want you to feel bad for skipping an episode of Developer Tea. What I do want is to hear from you, to hear your questions, your suggestions. And ultimately, I want to know where you are in your careers and the things that you're facing so I can create better content for you. There's a ton of ways you can reach me. You can reach me via email developertea@gmail.com. You can always reach me on Twitter at Developer Tea. And there's a Slack community for the spec family. Spec.fm slash Slack. You can actually send me a direct message in the Slack community. And I reply to about 99.9% of those Slack messages. So I'm in Slack all day long. So if you join the spec Slack community, you will very likely get me to respond there. So secondly, I want you to subscribe to this show. The more people who subscribe, the better this show can be, period. Because we have more people with varying backgrounds and we're going to cover much more information for more people. When you subscribe, you're making sure you don't miss out on future episodes. And that means you don't have to remember every single time a new episode comes out. Which once again is three times a week. It's Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So make sure you subscribe. Then you end up getting those episodes delivered. And you can look at your phone and you can say, well, that seems like one I want to listen to or I want to skip it. Like I said, you can skip episodes of Developer Tea. It's not going to hurt my feelings. And certainly I would rather you skip those episodes than feel like you have to listen to them. This is not a chronological show. And to be honest with you, even the sponsors would prefer you listen to the episodes that you are truly interested in. Our sponsors are great sponsors. And you're not doing me any favors by just listening out of, you know, some sense of duty to Developer Tea. So with that said, I do try to make these episodes as valuable as possible. So even if you are somewhat interested, there's going to be something. Hopefully that is a new perspective on the subject in every episode. So that is the goal here. And hopefully you find that to be true. So today we're talking about another developer poison. We've already talked about cynicism. Today we're talking about indecision. Perhaps the reason most people don't progress, particularly in the early stages of their careers in development, is that they become paralyzed by indecision. Questions like, what language should I use? Or what framework is best for this particular thing? What should I do for my side projects? Which online course should I take? Should I join company X? Or should I start company Y? What feature is most important for this particular user? Should I hire this person or wait on a different candidate? What should I say in this email to this client? A lot of these questions have more than one good answer. And that's why they are hard. The truth is, decisions are absolutely important. And when you come to a fork in the road, you should give it serious consideration. Which is why people get stuck in the loop of consideration. But being paralyzed by indecision can kill your career. If you get stuck in that loop of consideration for too long, then you become paralyzed by indecision. So what is the antidote for indecision? Well, I'm going to talk about three ways that you can be more decisive in your career right after this quick sponsor break. Today's episode is sponsored by Zendesk. Have you ever built a flawless application? If you answered yes, then you're absolutely lying. In fact, most of our jobs is about fixing the problems that we've created for ourselves. Chances are, no matter how good we think, our user experience is, there's probably something users will need help with while they're in the app. Yet in most of today's available apps, getting help is just a contact us link that launches an email or a mobile web page. By forcing people out of the app to get help, small problems can turn into big annoyances for users and huge losses for your company. Your app experience is now overshadowed by bag customer service, potentially leading to a frustrated app store rating. That is the ultimate bad mark for your app. Now, with Zendesk mobile SDKs, you can bring native in app support to your app quickly and easily. Users can view help content and submit tickets to support without leaving your app. The tickets go into Zendesk and can include information on the user's app and device information, history with your app, and plenty more. Best of all, it's included with Zendesk at no extra charge. You can use our out-of-the-box iOS UI to get up and running quickly, or you can build your own UI and work with our SDK API providers. That means your users never know that it's actually Zendesk behind the scenes. They just think it's you. Go and check it out, Zendesk.com slash Developer Tea. Thanks again to Zendesk for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. We're talking about indecision today. We're talking about poisons for developers. And indecision is one of those. We've talked about cynicism and our previous, the first part of this series, this is the second part of the series on indecision. And really, this is for pretty much everyone. It's not just developers. It's also for developers. It's not just developers. It's also for anyone in any career. But it's particularly important for Developer To understand how detrimental indecision can be because we have a lot of things that we have to make decisions on as developers. We have to decide, you know, what kind of language do I want to use? We also have to decide, how do I want to write this particular feature? And there's a lot of things that can help us along the way, but ultimately it comes down to making good decisions. So the antidotes for indecision today, I'm going to give you three of those. Number one is decision batches. Decision batches. Make as many of your critical decisions as you can in a batch. Make as many of your critical decisions as you can kind of in a group. You've probably heard about this. It's similar to task batching. What this allows you to do, what makes this valuable, is that it allows you to compare one decision against another. Which often means that one decision is automatically cascaded into automatic decision making. In other words, you answer one question and you might answer two or three on your list. The other valuable piece of this is that once you've gone through this process, when you actually encounter this decision, when you actually encounter the problem that you needed to make a decision about, you've already made that decision. So you can focus all of your energy on simply executing on that decision. Along with this comes the concept of automating unimportant decisions. We've talked about decision fatigue before in the past. So we won't linger too long on this. You've probably read articles about how Mark Zuckerberg wears the same thing every day so that he doesn't have to make too many decisions because our brain can only make so many decisions in a day, regardless of how important that decision is. So it makes sense to limit the number of decisions that you have to make in a given day. But what I want you to do is not spend any significant amount of time or resources on making decisions about trivial things. This is a hard ask because really this comes down to decisions like where are you going to eat today. This will ultimately steal your energy and leave you feeling drained at the end of the day and the most important things that you're trying to decide at four o'clock in your work day, you're going to be too drained to decide on them well. Instead, spend your decision making resources on the things that matter the most and find ways to automate the decisions that don't matter as much. Perhaps it's as simple as making a meal plan at the beginning of the week which by the way can be a healthy decision anyway. Or maybe you do follow in the steps of Mark Zuckerberg or somebody like that and you eliminate the wardrobe discussion with yourself in the morning. What should I wear today? These are all kind of obvious trivial decisions that you have to make. But other trivial decisions that you may have to make in the future may seem less trivial. For example, picking between different frameworks. The reality is sometimes these decisions are just as trivial as what should I wear today. So it's worth spending some energy trying to automate the unimportant decisions. Number two, the second antidote to indecision. Number two, determine your values. We've definitely talked about values quite a bit on this podcast and they continue to prevail as perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself and your life's purpose overall. More decisions are made based on personal values than anything else. And establishing these values is essential to your decision making process. For example, you could establish personal values for where you want to live or perhaps what you want your schedule to look like. At the same time, you may need to recognize that your values should be flexible. So if your schedule isn't quite exactly what you wanted today, maybe you get to work from home a bit more often. So you might be accomplishing the same goal of those values. Of course, there are also larger scale values like the various causes that you want to work for. Maybe you want to further education in the world as a whole or you have a passion for building job opportunities so you want to start a business. These are all things that can help make even the smallest decisions easier to make. So determine your values. Number three is called the dice check. The dice check. When a decision seems like it can go either way. When you're really split down the middle, one way to help you make that decision is to do some kind of pseudo random selection process. I call this the dice check. If you roll the dice and say any even number goes with choice A and any odd number goes with choice B, most often you will either be okay with choice A or B. Or once you find out what the dice is actually showing, once the dice have been rolled, you'll realize that you actually did have a preference after all. A lot of the time these kinds of decisions need to simply be made. An indecision is prevalent here in these kinds of decisions because there's no obvious answer. Sometimes the best thing you can do is make the answer obvious intentionally. In other words, roll the dice and just pick something. These are the kinds of decisions that leave you the most paralyzed and ironically most of the time these are the kinds of decisions that matter the least. They're the ones that you can go either direction on that they're really split down the middle. So making the decision, you give yourself a process for removing the responsibility from your shoulders. You come up with some sort of random way for that decision to be made outside of you. And that's what the dice check does for you. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope the earlier discussion about the intention of Developer Tea. helps you understand what we're trying to do here on the show. And I hope you are inspired to join the conversation. This show is truly here for those of you who listen. I stay up until midnight recording these episodes sometimes just because I want to connect with those of you who are listening to this podcast. So thank you so much for listening. Thank you again to today's sponsor ZenDesk. Get feedback from your users directly in your app and solve their problems. They don't ever have to go to a browser. They don't have to leave your app to give you feedback. Go and check it out, zendesk.com slash Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening. Make sure you subscribe. And until next time, enjoy your tea.